Thursday night I attended a meeting of the camera club for which I've been asked to judge pictures next month. One of the technically best photographs submitted was of Viggo Mortensen on location for The Road, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. Cormac McCarthy also wrote All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. He's a very hot novelist in Hollywood these days.
The competition theme was "low key" and the photograph was definitely that, the figure of Viggo and the child playing his son emerged from a dark background in very beautiful, warm, low, directional light. The shot was taken somewhere in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, which I know only because someone (not the photographer, who was not present) volunteered the information. I am curious as to whether the photographer is a member of IATSE Local 600 or was some other crew member with an illegal camera on the set (only Local 600 members--of which I am one--are supposed to shoot stills.)
It was a really nice photograph, but Viggo looks like he's channeling Steve Railsback as Charlie Manson in this role. He's got a skraggly dark beard and what may be long, Aragorn-type hair (he had a hat or hood on), but his great bone structure looked more prominent than usual. I know roughly what the story is about, so he's probably lost weight to get the right look of deprivation. It's just disconcerting to see him look so much like Steve, a terrific actor who is an acquaintance of ours. (I was totally chilled by Steve's performance in 1976 television movie Helter Skelter, made long before I met him. The performance stands the test of time and, although good, the actor in the remake didn't make my hair stand on end. Steve is also very good in the very strange film, The Stuntman.)
I'm still debating whether I'll go to see The Road. If I do, it's only because Viggo's in it. I got through both A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, but I did cover my eyes a lot. Otherwise, The Road is the kind of story I don't really want to see if I'm looking for "entertainment" (I've heard the ending.) But based on that photograph, it will be hauntingly beautiful.
Lunch with the Barefoot Contessa
8 months ago